Ninja Blade tries to be something else. It exists as a sort of homage to other action titles while never establishing itself as an original idea. Imitation can often be good, sometimes even equal to the source. Unfortunately FromSoftware has formulated a game that is akin to eating a juicy steak devoid of any seasoning. When it sits in front of you on initial play you’re enticed by the cinematic presentation, but by the time you’ve defeated your first (of countless) giant creatures you’ve grown tired of the Simon Says gameplay.
You play as Ken Ogawa, a ninja that is apparently a big fan of Ryu Hyabusa. When a parasite hits Tokyo, unleashing undead like creatures and giant monsters intent on pure destruction it’s up to our hero to save the day. Weirdly the story itself is disjointed and things switch willy nilly between English and Japanese. It makes little sense why this is so. Revenge, lust, power, money, or any number of things could be a driving force behind Ken’s actions. They could be, but why should you care when you’re being chased by a tentacled Slime Copter. Yup, there is actually an enemy boss that is a mutated helicopter.
And right there is where Ninja Blade has its brief moments. The action is so over the top gory goodness that you can’t help but enjoy at least a few of the level ending encounters. When you come to these parts you’ll try to think of the most outrageous finishing move, and then be completely outdone by the developer.
This is something that would be most enjoyable for a casual spring action release. But great style doesn’t equal a great game. The problem here is that when you’re actually in combat with the minor minions of the world you’re performing the simplest button mash gameplay. If Ninja Blade is trying to be anything like Ninja Gaiden it fails miserably by allowing the player to merely press a button to do some damage. There’s no strategy to the combat, and as difficult as other games in this genre can be they find their fun in the player’s ability to utilize a myriad of attack combinations to achieve victory.
Instead Ninja Blade relies on quicktime events. This isn’t an occasional moment where you dodge a rolling enemy. The QTE’s in this game are abundant, and they offer the cinematic flare you get in a better title’s general gameplay. Within an hour of playing Ninja Blade I’d gone through a typical year’s worth of QTE’s. Coupled with the inane actions of enemy AI and you have what amounts to a very boring game gilded to make it attractive.
TestFreaks: 7.7/10 MetaCritic: 6.8/10 GameRankings: 6.9/10